Motorola gPhone by Xmas '09: A big mistake?

Summary:A recent article on Silicon Alley Insider noted that Motorola, whose cell phone business restructuring includes a "big bet on Google's Android platform," will wait until the next winter holiday season to roll out the first batch of what the web has been referring to as their first gPhone -- Google Android-powered smartphone. Is this a big mistake?

Motorola gPhone
A recent article on Silicon Alley Insider noted that Motorola, whose cell phone business restructuring includes a "big bet on Google's Android platform," will wait until the next winter holiday season to roll out the first batch of what the web has been referring to as their first gPhone -- Google Android-powered smartphone. Is this a big mistake?

It occurs to me that the one thing the Android thing has going for it besides being open-source and cross-provider is sheer momentum. And I fear that waiting too long may temper that excitement, or worse, produce expectations that can't be met.

It's clear that people want something to realistically compete with the iPhone. Just look at all the fervor RIM is stoking with its BlackBerry Storm and Bold rollouts. Will people be patient to wait another year for a phone that is trying to compete with Apple's iPhone -- now several years old?

In the meantime, Motorola smartphones based on Microsoft's Windows Mobile platform are set to debut, including entirely new models in the second half of 2009. And God only knows what Steve Jobs is planning for the next year.

As a major player, can Motorola afford to wait this long? Will the stakes be too high by then?

Motorola posted another big loss in Q3 of this year, reporting that cellphone sales shrank more than 30 percent year-over-year to an estimated 8.4 percent market share. The company plans on canceling several models, including those running Nokia's Symbian OS and its own Linux-Java platform.

Which is all well and good, but the ante is being upped as we speak -- and I'm not so sure whatever Motorola comes up with will really blow everyone out of the water.

I wonder what their long-term strategy is at this point: is Motorola looking for a big splash, or to simply and slowly regain market share? I don't know.

But I fear a lot more people will turn in their Razrs to upgrade to other companies' smartphones in the next year, as prices come down.  And once they taste it, they may never turn back.

What do you think? Should Motorola kick it in high gear, or does slow and steady win the race? Tell us in TalkBack.

Topics: Mobility, Hardware, Operating Systems, Smartphones, Software

About

Andrew Nusca is a former writer-editor for ZDNet and contributor to CNET. He is also the former editor of SmartPlanet, ZDNet's sister site about innovation. He writes about business, technology and design now but used to cover finance, fashion and culture. He was an intern at Money, Men's Vogue, Popular Mechanics and the New York Daily Ne... Full Bio

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